Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 March 2017


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 March 2017

NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.

General Studies – 1;

Topic : Salient features of Indian society

1) What do you understand by identity politics? Examine how it has affected society and polity in India since independence. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Identity politics, also called identitarian politics, refers to political positions based on the interests and perspectives of social groups with which people identify. Identity politics includes the ways in which people’s politics may be shaped by aspects of their identity through loosely correlated social organizations. Examples include social organizations based on age, social class or caste, culture, dialect, disability, education, ethnicity, language, nationality, sex, gender identity.

The term identity politics came into being during the latter part of the 20th century, during the Civil Rights Era. During this time period, identity politics was used by a minority group to form a coalition with members of the majority.

Identity politics, as a mode of organizing, is closely connected to the concept that some social groups are oppressed (such as women, ethnic minorities, sexual minorities, etc.); that is, individuals belonging to those groups are, by virtue of their identity, more vulnerable to forms of oppression such as cultural imperialism, violence, exploitation of labour, marginalization, or powerlessness. Identity politics starts from analyses of oppression to recommend a restructuring of the existing society.

Identity politics is a phenomenon that arose first within the radical margins of liberal democratic societies in which human rights are recognized, and the term is not usually used to refer to dissident movements within single-party or authoritarian states. The elements of identity politics can be seen to be present in many of the earliest statements of feminists, ethnic movements, and gay and lesbian liberation.

Identity politics has affected the Indian politics and society in following ways:

Impact on polity:

  • Formation of coalition government at center stage shows the accommodative maturity shown by political leadership of country.
  • Rise of dominant political parties has origin in identity politics in many states. This is very historic phenomenon in India and political outcome of regional aspirations can be seen from last 20 to 25 years now.
  • Rise of regional and state parties is one of the consequence of identity politics in India. For eg BSP, Shivsena etc.
  • Identity politics has made considerable impacts on international relations more on neighboring countries. One can see it impact of Tamil identity politics on India Srilanka relations.
  • Identity politics let by caste groups is at peak in India today. Most of the matter revolves around reservation aspirations of youth of various caste and communities in India.
  • Polity has got remarkable impact by agitation of third gender community. This is the positive development and it has led to passage of protective legislation for third gender community. Supreme courts observation on rights to third gender community highlights the importance of these groups creating their own impact on socio political sphere of country.
  • Identity politics has also led to vote bank politics where political parties are focusing only on the needs of particular social groups.

Impact on society:

  • Increase in political awareness among marginalized and weaker sections of society.
  • Political parties could focus on particular sections deprived of political power and economic opportunities in the society.
  • Identity politics has also given better representation to socially discriminated classes and minorities.
  • Identity politics has sowed the seeds of hatred and enmity among different sections of society based on castes, religion, ethnicity etc.
  • Identity politics is responsible for the parochial and narrow minded views of the citizens and political parties.
  • Identity politics is responsible for divisive tendencies and could lead to the separatist tendencies. Eg Naga insurgency after independence, Khalistan movement etc.


Identity politics has played important role in bringing marginalized and discriminated sections of society to mainstream politics. However at the same time it has brought some negative developments in Indian polity and society. Thus we need to ensure that Identity politics don’t result into parochial and divisive thinking while reaping its benefit.


General Studies – 2

Topic: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

2) “Polls are not the best representative of the popular will, for people’s answers to pollster questions are not quite the same as their opinions — or, for that matter, public opinion.” In the light of recent events, critically comment on the statement. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Opinion and exit polls during elections in India have been a matter of public debate for nearly two decades. All political parties, at different points in time, have opposed such polls and demanded a ban on them except when they are shown as winning. The same parties join the demand for a ban when the polls show them losing. The media, on the other hand, always opposes any proposal for a ban as it provides them good TRPs.

In the past several years, the opinion polls have failed to forecast correctly the election results in India and also in different countries, even after rigorous survey exercises in respective areas. In India, recent examples have been the failure to predict the victory of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu in 2016 and the victory of the grand alliance of the Janata Dal (United), the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress in Bihar in 2015. 

Why opinion polls and exit polls are failure?

  • In the time period between the opinion polls and the elections, several people may change their decision to vote for a particular person or political party.
  • The polls do not cover the whole nation, but only a sample size of population, whose preferences may differ substantially from overall voting pattern.
  • People tend to answer wrongly in several polls, in fear of being reprimanded by the dominant faction of society, which results in difference between opinion shown and the actual condition.
  • Opinion polls can be fabricated or influenced by the pressure of political parties to swing voters in their favor.
  • Comprehension of wide range of statics and their correlation with public mood always not easy to decipher; sometimes influence towards a particular party enforce media to show altered results.

Integrity of polls-

Having seen ‘paid news’ in action, Election Commission always suspects that most opinion polls in India are non-transparent, often sponsored, motivated and biased. With such infirmities, these ‘polls’ amount to disinformation designed to cause ‘undue influence’ which is an ‘electoral offence’ under the IPC and a ‘corrupt practice’ under the RP Act.

Utility of opinion and exit polls-

  • Opinion and exit polls by themselves, like all research, are useful to gain insight into what people think of the policies, programs and products.
  • The exit poll’s most familiar purpose is to provide the backbone of a system that can be used to predict winners of elections earlier than the official results are available.
  • A second purpose that exit polls might serve is to provide information about the electorate, specifically its characteristics, thinking, and motivations. Such information is valuable.

Way forward-

Opinion polls would be fine only if their integrity was beyond doubt. What can be done to ensure this?     

  • Ideally, an independent regulator will be a viable option. The regulator could set up standards of professional integrity for all poll research and accredit the agencies which want to be in this business and are willing to subject their operational details (sample size, sampling methodology, timeframe, quality of training of research staff etc.) to scrutiny.
  • A model of professional and ethical rules, which market researchers follow, already exists in the European Society for Opinion and Market Research (ESOMAR), and the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR). The guidelines on opinion polls and published surveys of these organizations set out the responsibilities of researchers to conduct opinion polls in a professional and ethical way.
  • These guidelines highlight the information that researchers and those publishing survey data must make available to enable the public and other stakeholders to evaluate the results. They provide guidance on different types of opinion polls, including exit and online polls. India could easily join these organizations or set up its own professional body on the same lines. This is one reform which needs to be considered without any delay.


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health. 

3) Why the north east Asia is now being considered as the most dangerous place on earth? Examine the role of UN in deescalating tensions in the region. (200 Words)



North East Asia refers to sub-region of core countries – China, Japan, North Korea, and South Korea; bordering Pacific Ocean. A new UN report revealed that North Korea has continued its proliferation activities and these are growing in sophistication. It has now grown into a very dangerous issues in region among several other issues.

  • Border disputes:- Territorial disputes between China-Japan (Senkaku Islands) between china and North Korea and between North and South Korea over 38th
  • Increasing Nuclear Tensions in region:- Weak authoritarian state NK, possessing multiple nuclear and ICBM’s may result in catastrophic consequences if put under undue pressure
  • Resource related tensions:- The china and North ,South Korean nations mostly fight with each other for the resources to be shared between the region mostly the marine resources.
  • US-China belligerency:-China-NK nexus as a counterweight US-SK-Japan nexus has led to lack of dialogue, and military drills by US-SK-Japan and providing of weapons has escalated further tensions.

Role/Comments of UN in deescalating tensions

  • Increasing effectivity of trade-sanctions:-NK has been able to evade effects of sanctions using illicit methods (foreign individuals, companies) and is able to finance its illicit programs
  • Make the banned list of tradebetween China-NK more exhaustive
  • US-China should reduce active involvementin the Korean conflict, & not provide weapons to their allies (Eg-> THAAD to SK by US has enraged China)
  • Limited role for UNSC:-This is owing to veto power of China. However, China being both NK’s and SK’s biggest economic partner and hence should play a major role among P-5 in resolution of conflicts (US should scale down its ‘Pivot to Asia’ program which has been a major hindrance)
  • All parties must adhere to International UN conventions(Eg- UNCLOS)
  • Encourage the Korean peninsula to adopt the Double suspension formula, where the North stops its nuclear proliferation, in exchange for ending of US-South Korea military exercises, which may help both countries to reach to a fruitful negotiation exercise regarding territorial disputes.


China-US should collaborate to change the region from Geopolitical ‘Tussle’ to Geo-Economic ‘Hotspot’. China’s ‘Double suspension formula’ to scale down NK-SK arms race looks much relevant in this context, and hence its recent relative isolation won’t solve the problem. UN further needs to play a major role in deescalating tensions in the area.


Topic: issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein

4) In India, economic disparity between wealthy states of the south and west and poor states of the north and east is skyrocketing. Critically discuss the causes and consequences of this trend. (200 Words)



India, a union of states displays extreme ends I terms of developmental status of states with Kerala leading on economic, social front and BIMARU states still struggling to pull big chunk of their population above poverty line.

The reasons for the skyrocketing disparities are as follows:-

  • Historical:- In South and West historically the industrial base was built up i.e Cotton industry , Manufacturing , Import and Export facilities due to Seashore i.e Port availability. The penetration of British at selected points and states made them to scale the heights of economic development.
  • Policy related causes:-Since independence centre has adopted particular policies like Green Revolution in states of Punjab, Haryana leaving behind other states. Infrastructural development projects like Metros Bullet trains still inaugurated at selected key cities only.
  • Geographical cause:-North Eastern states, Jammu Kashmir face challenges of difficult terrain, near non accessible river routes hence the connectivity remains main issue which is important for development.
  • Economic pattern of states:- The major states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar still carry out their traditional occupation of agriculture. With its largely subsistent nature they are not able to progress aggressively. The southern states are driven by mostly services sector.
  • Administrative causes:-Sates capability to adapt to increasing competitiveness, corruptions and governance related issues determines their ability to develop. The increasing ease of doing business FDI attraction by states are also playing important role in development.


  • Regionally imbalanced growth –leading to resentment in North, reducing confidence in Centre and concerned state governments to reduce the disparity.
  • Large scale migration of people specially youth from North and North East to Southern states. This has further led to mass exodus and son of soil movements issues.
  • Hinterland to rural migration: This lead to urban agglomeration and other consequences like pollution, regional backlashes (like Telangana movement), unsustainable use of resources.
  • Radicalisation of unemployed youth: As unemployment increases, the dissatisfied youth may join radical outfits .Eg: Maoists in the red corridor and increasing militancy problem in Jammu Kashmir.
  • Further development and intensification of feeling of regionalism.


Hence now needed good governance, improving infrastructure and connectivity, harnessing natural resource potentials of East and North. Efforts should be taken for balance regional growth by providing skills, utilizing natural resources in an optimal way, encouraging industries to set up their units in undeveloped areas by providing incentives, tax consession etc for their economic growth and development.


Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate. 

5) What are the functions of the Commission on Legal Continental Shelf (CLCS) of United Nations? Examine its importance for India. (200 Words)

The Hindu

CLCS is part of UNCLOS and plays an important role in demarcation of boundaries in areas where outer limits of the continental shelf stretch beyond 200 nautical miles.


The CLCS has five-year tenure and elections are due in June for the 2017-2022 term.

The MoES is the nodal Ministry for the Law of the Sea-related issues. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), which formally nominates Indian candidates, chose to nominate a person to another U.N. body, called the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), whereas the MoES candidate for CLCS was not agreed to by the MEA.

So, it will( for the first time in two decades )not have a member in a prestigious, U.N. scientific body that decides what portions of the seabed can be exclusively mined for natural resources such as oil, precious metals and minerals.

Members of the Commission –

The Commission shall consist of twenty-one members who shall be experts in the field of geology, geophysics or hydrography, elected by States Parties to the Convention from among their nationals, having due regard to the need to ensure equitable geographical representation, who shall serve in their personal capacities.

Purpose of the Commission (CLCS) –

The purpose of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) is to facilitate the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in respect of the establishment of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles (M) from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

Under the Convention, the coastal State shall establish the outer limits of its continental shelf where it extends beyond 200 M on the basis of the recommendation of the Commission. The Commission shall make recommendations to coastal States on matters related to the establishment of those limits; its recommendations and actions shall not prejudice matters relating to the delimitation of boundaries between States with opposite or adjacent coasts.

Functions of CLCS –

  1. Decide on portions of the seabed that can be exclusively mined for natural resources such as oil, precious metals and minerals
  2. Provide scientific and technical advice, if requested by the coastal State
  3. To consider the data and other material submitted by coastal States concerning the outer limits of the continental shelf in areas where those limits extend beyond 200 nautical miles. Commission makes recommendations to coastal States on matters related to the establishment of the outer limits of their continental shelf.

The limits of the shelf established by a coastal State on the basis of these recommendations shall be final and binding.

Importance for India –

  1. Allows India to gauge the scientific strength of claims by countries regarding parts of seabed that, like territorial waters, are often hard to demarcate. (Info available only to participants).
    Strategic – India has recently finished an extensive survey of its 7,500-km coastline to finalize its claim on the extended Continental shelf. (submitted to UN)
     Ongoing tussle with Sri Lanka regarding sea-boundary demarcation.
    Wider Continental Shelves along western coasts, and with China and Pakistan representing in CLCS, may shift balance against India with respect to Gujarat continental shelves.
  2. Not having an Indian in this 21-member group would mean that China and Pakistan would likely “grab” two of the five seats allotted to the Asia-Pacific group . This will hamper India’s interests in future.


Apart from signaling prestige, a membership of the commission allows India to represent herself firmly on a important global platform. CLCS MEMBERSHIP is significant for India from strategic, economic as well as environmental perspective. The indecision on the part of two ministries, while impacting our global position, would provide undue benefits to China and Pakistan. Such instances better be avoided.


General Studies – 3

Topic:  S&T

6) Differentiate between antibiotics and probiotics. Why meat with antibiotics is considered bad for health? What are the alternatives? Examine. (200 Words)

The Hindu


Antibiotics, also called antibacterial, are a type of antimicrobial drug used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections. They may either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. Most antibiotics are derived from bacteria. Their inappropriate use allows the emergence of resistant organisms giving rise to the phenomenon of antibiotic-resistance.


The World Health Organization‘s (WHO) 2001 definition of probiotics is “live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”.

1. Antibiotics are anti-microbial drugs used to fight infections whereas probiotics are source of naturally found bacteria in the human body.
2. Antibiotics are often used to treat infections due to bacteria whereas probiotics are used to repopulate helpful bacteria in the human body, especially gut.
3. Antibiotics decrease the amount of bacteria whereas probiotics increase and diversify the useful bacteria to keep the gut healthy.
4. Antibiotics can cause resistance in bacteria if over-used, whereas probiotics have minimal or no side effects.


These drugs are fed to factory farm animals to make them grow bigger faster and to enable them to survive the unsanitary and cramped conditions they are raised in. The rampant misuse of these drugs has led to new antibiotic-resistant bacteria emerging, commonly known as “superbugs.”

Recently, researchers discovered a new gene mutation in bacteria called mcr-1 in meat, live pigs, and sick people in China. This gene makes bacteria resistant to our last-resort class of antibiotics.

It is now widely accepted that antibiotic-resistance has grown and spread due to these drugs being heavily overused in animal agriculture. Antibiotics — and colistin in particular — are fed to livestock in massive quantities.

A whopping 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to factory farmed animals. The amount of antibiotics given to farm animals is more than 500 times the amount used for humans.

Antibiotics are routinely administered to farm animals to increase their physical size — to render their slaughtered bodies more profitable to the industry ­— and to counter the poor hygiene and intensive conditions farm animals are subjected to. Indeed, it would cost far too much to monitor and treat each animal on a case-by-case basis. Instead, massive quantities of antibiotics are ground up and fed to all the animals, as a purely preventative measure.

Meat with antibiotics is considered bad for health:
People are not only contaminated by the drug-resistant bacteria by eating the meat from these animals, but also because of how easily these superbugs spread through our environment. This essentially means that drug-resistant infections can affect people whether or not they eat meat, all because of the livestock industry’s rampant mismanagement.

In other words, the meat industry has brought about the beginning of a health crisis of epidemic proportions merely to turn a quick buck.


Use of ionophores which are antibiotics not used in human medicine.

Use of Organic products, herbs and plant extracts such as oregano and thyme for routine treatment of livestock.
Increasing use of Probiotics.


(1)Antibiotics in agriculture should be limited to medically necessary uses and not for weight gain. The use of antibiotics for growth and wt-gain of livestock should be banned. 
(2) Use of those antibiotics which are not used for humans, should be promoted in animals. For example- Ionophores.
(3) Judicious use of antibiotics by veterinarians.
(4) Proper sanitation practices and scientific disposal measures at livestock farms and slaughter houses.
(5) Encourage development, production and use of alternative antibiotic-free growth promoters such as herbal supplements and better farm management practices, and 
(6) Develop an integrated surveillance system to monitor antibiotic-resistant trends in humans, animals and the food chain.

(7) Vegetarianism should be promoted, to decrease the pressure on livestock industry.


2014 World Health Organization report already warned of the potential for a “post-antibiotic era” in which “common infections and minor injuries can kill” as drugs become ineffective. To prevent this, serious steps need to be taken as soon as possible. As market forces are stronger than laws and regulations, its the responsibility of consumers to make the right choices while buying food products.